Mildred (Millie) Jeffrey was born on Dec. 29, 1910, in Alton, Iowa, the eldest of seven children. With the passage of laws promoting labor unions, Millie became an organizer for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers in Philadelphia and later the education director of the Pennsylvania Joint Board of Shirt Workers. She joined the NAACP in the 1940s and marched in the South with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s. In the 1950 and 60s, After mobilizing the Michigan Democratic Party behind JFK in 1960, she then reportedly pushed JFK to initiate the Peace Corps.
Jeffrey was an emissary from United Auto Workers leader, Walter Reuther, to organizations including National Council of Churches, Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Students for a Democratic Society and events and movements such as Earth Day the Civil Rights Movement and the 1963 March on Washington.
Jeffrey, died in 2004 at the age of 93.
Interviewed by Tom Downs
85 minutes, December 28, 1995